Physical therapy treatment for carpal tunnel first depends on whether you have had surgery or not.
If you have not had surgery, the first thing a physical therapist will do is determine if all your symptoms are coming from the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel symptoms are usually numbness and tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and sometimes the ring finger. Other common complaints are hand swelling, sensation of pins and needles, pain at night, hand clumsiness, and hand weakness. It is also possible that the median nerve, the nerve that is compressed with carpal tunnel, is compressed at another
location in the arm. This can be determined through a physical therapist’s exam as well.
Once it is determined that your symptoms are related to carpal tunnel, the therapist can take some
baseline measurements of your sensation and strength to track progress and to make sure your
symptoms of nerve compression are not worsening. This also allows the therapist to screen and
determine if or when you need to be further evaluated by a surgeon.
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